"I spent a little time actually READING Gabby's book, and it's really good! Good writing, a lot of detail, great photos. One thing that I didn't realize about Gabby was that he was (like me!) a slow learner in his early flight training.
In fact he nearly washed out of Primary at Parks Air College in 1940. After 18 hours, his instructor pronounced him unlikely to succeed, and he had to go on an "elimination flight" with the Army captain in charge of the training at the civilian school.
Gabby went to church and prayed -- he was and is still a devout Catholic -- and the next day he managed to stay calm and do well on the check ride. They switched him to a new instructor for four hours of catch-up training, and he went on to basic and advanced training, where he was an attentive but average student. He stuck with it and eventually became an excellent pilot as well as one of the highest scoring US aces!
The power of perserverence!